In a joint letter to the Food and Drug Administration, IDFA and 15 other food industry groups asked Commissioner Margaret Hamburg to implement new rules and guidance for the Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA) that will be flexible and cost effective, while promoting innovation and protecting trade secrets. The groups urged Hamburg to apply the principles of the president's Executive Order "Improving Regulation and Regulatory Review" and the Regulatory Flexibility Act, which direct federal agencies to consider costs and reduce burdens for American businesses when proposing regulatory action.
The Executive Order, issued in January, called on agencies to "identify and use the best, most innovative and least burdensome tools for achieving regulatory ends." The Regulatory Flexibility Act, introduced in February, is designed to minimize the adverse economic impact that federal regulations can have on small businesses.
"We believe that the 'smarter approach' to regulatory policy enshrined in the Executive Order and the RFA ought to substantially inform and guide the FDA's promulgation of FSMA guidance and rules," the letter stated.
The groups asked FDA to take the following steps:
- Formulate guidance and rules using a scientifically sound, risk-based approach;
- Continue to involve stakeholders in the regulatory process;
- Ensure inter-agency integration and promote innovation;
- Adopt the least burdensome and most flexible regulatory approaches;
- Ensure all guidance and rules are based on a reasoned determination that costs justify benefits;
- Develop and employ objective metrics for regulatory efficacy; and;
- Implement FSMA as Congress intended.
"FSMA grants FDA new legal authorities. Congress granted those authorities with the understanding the agency will implement the law in a common-sense manner that promotes innovation, flexibility and cost-effectiveness and with due regard for the protection of trade secrets and intellectual property," the letter concluded.
The U.S. Chamber of Commerce Food Safety Working Group comprises many food industry stakeholders, including IDFA. The other members are:
- American Bakers Association
- American Farm Bureau
- American Feed Industry Association
- American Frozen Food Institute
- American Peanut Council
- The Coca-Cola Company
- Flavor and Extract Manufacturers Association of the United States
- Food Marketing Institute
- Grocery Manufacturers Association
- National Confectioners Association
- National Grocers Association
- National Renderers Association
- Produce Marketing Association
- Snack Food Association
- U.S. Chamber of Commerce
Read the letter here.
For more information, contact Clay Detlefsen, IDFA vice president of regulatory affairs, at email@example.com.